Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

March 2007
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Community Round-Up

Advani Hosts Jewish-Muslim Dialogue
New Delhi

Call it a conspiracy or real effort, a section of the Hindutva brigade has succeeded in bringing a section of Muslim leaders to the negotiating table with top Jew Rabbis. Leader of the opposition party, L. K Advani managed to arrange a group of Muslims to interact with Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, and Chief Rabbis of several European countries and Israeli Ambassador, David Danieli over a sumptuous dinner at his residence. The five Muslim scholars who attended the meet include Prof Akhtar-ul Wasey, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of India Islamic Cultural Centre, Wasi Ahmed Nomani, a jurist; Jameeluddin Ilyasi, president of the All-India Imams Organisation and his son Umer Ilyasi, president of Sufi Sant Samagam. Also present on the occasion was editor of Panchjanya, Tarun Vijay and BJP leader Balbir Punj. Akhtarul Wasey said, “We welcome every dialogue, which is necessary for peace. We made it clear to the Jewish representatives that justice is essential for peace in West Asia”. Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger of Israel said, “Indian Muslims, being the second largest group of Muslims in the world, need to assume leadership of the community and serve as an example to the world, on living in a mixed society”.

Study Committee for Islamic Banking
Reported by Andalib Akhter
New Delhi

After much brouhaha over the Sachar Committee report, Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has set up another committee to address the grievances of Muslims of the country. Dr. Singh has set up a committee to study the feasibility of an Islamic Bank in India. The committee, headed by the cabinet secretary, has the finance, law, revenue secretaries and ex-RBI officials as members. It may be recalled that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had rejected such a demand in the past. “The Reserve Bank did not do justice. Instead of looking at it from a religious point, it must be seen from a feasibility point,” said K. Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha. In 2004, then Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram set up a committee of RBI officials headed by Anand Sinha of RBI. In its report in July 2005, the RBI rejected the idea. In January 2007, a committee of Muslim MPs in a report to the PM proposed such a bank and now Dr Singh has set up a committee to study the feasibility and legal aspects of the venture.

No Loan Reservation for Minorities
New Delhi

Indian Muslims are facing another road-block in their development with the Reserve Bank of India and other banks rejecting the government’s proposal to reserve a share of loans for members of minority communities. It may be recalled that the government had sent a letter seeking the opinion of both RBI and Indian Bank Association (IBA) on a proposal to earmark 6% of loans to borrowers from minority communities. The Central Bank and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) have reportedly told the government that banks’ lending practices are based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and not his religion or caste. At present, commercial banks must lend 40% of loans to farmers and small businessmen who constitute, along with a few other categories, the priority sector.

Pulse Polio Campaigns in Urdu
By A Staff Writer

Over 45 Muslim-populated areas of Mumbai have been identified as ‘high Polio risk.’

The 45 high-risk Muslim-populated areas of Mumbai, including ‘L’ ward of Kurla, M/East ward, Baingan-wadi, Shivaji Nagar, Govandi, Deonar, Pathanwadi, Kherwadi, are being targeted with posters and banners in Urdu. Along the Western Express highway in Mira Road and other Muslim dominated areas, prominent yellow banners can be seen splashed with the pulse polio campaign message: “Do Boondh” in Urdu.

The BMC has put in use 5,500 Urdu banners. “We are also training the health workers to communicate with the parents in Urdu,” said Usha Ubale, official-in-charge for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, immun-isation drive. Troubled by refusals in some pockets of the city and suburbs during their polio immunisation drive, health authorities are using Urdu to draw parents to the booths.

Mira Road and Naya Nagar areas in the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) limits are dominated by Muslim population. The MBMC recorded 76 per cent coverage of 75,000 children in the January 2007 round of immunisation, which increased to 77 per cent in February. “We got too many refusals last year. So we decided to start communicating with them in Urdu,” says Dr Rathod, MBMC medical officer.

“There were lots of refusals here the previous time. Since then, the areas with largely Muslim population have these banners in Urdu. The Muslims feel that by inducing these polio drops, it will lead to impotency. We really have to explain to them in detail,” says Bhoir. Last year, Maharashtra recorded five polio cases, three of which were in Mumbai’s slums. With widespread belief that the polio dose leads to impotency, sections of the Muslim popul-ation are reluctant to get their children administered with the oral polio vaccine. One case of polio was detected in Bhiwandi in December last year. “We have lot of migratory population from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and a Muslim population. So we have taken special measures to dispel their fears of impotency,” says Dr Rathod.

Haj Committee's Anti-Corruption Drive
New Delhi

The Haj Committee of India has decided to take stern action against those involved in corruption while serving the Hajis. Vice-president of the Haj Committee, Hasan Ahmad said that unscrupulous elements should be removed from all the Haj committees. He said the community was shocked when it saw ‘Khadims’ taking bribes from Hajis. Chief ministers of all States have been asked to investigate into the past records of all who were involved in the affairs of Haj.